December 2015 Newsletter

Hi all,
When I correspond with via email or talk to people all over the world and hear of their struggles and needs, one thing stands out above all the rest – His presence dominating every situation, every circumstance, every heart.
 
He doesn’t always heal outright, but His presence is always there. He doesn’t meet every need exactly on pay day, but His presence is there the whole time. He doesn’t answer every prayer the way we want, and sometimes things are delayed considerably, but His presence is always with us.
 
I’ve seen that the over-comer, the successful disciple is the one who either stays focused on, or returns to quickly, the awareness of Christ in them, and they have learned to sense that Presence inside them and allow it to dominate every thought.
 
The Umpire
Colossians 3:15 says to ‘Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (KJV)
 
I also like the Amplified Version which brings out the Greek in a bit more modern way:
“Let the peace of Christ (the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him) be the controlling factor in your hearts (deciding and settling questions that arise). To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body (of believers). And be thankful (to God always).
 
The Greek word ‘brabeuo’ used for ‘rule’ in the KJV means ‘umpire’ or ‘referee’ and ‘to arbitrate’, and that is why we are told to let the peace of God rule, or ‘be the controlling factor’, or ‘deciding and settling questions that arise’. Peace is to be the umpire in our hearts, and that peace is to settle all issues.
 
The call on your life is first and foremost, peace
People talk of their call in life – “I am called to be a pastor” or “I am called as an evangelist” or “I am called to be a wife and mother”. But the verse says that we are called to peace. We are called to peace.
 
Learn how to do let peace dominate your thoughts and emotions. It is trial and error. It is a process of training your thoughts and emotions to calm down and to consciously think about the big picture, that the Father has a perfect track record of His presence in your life, and that He will be with you through this. He never says He will transport you out of the valley of the shadow of death, it says He is with you in that valley as you and He walk through it together.
 
Let peace settle issues. Learn to think things through, think of the larger perspective that you will in fact get through this and the absolutely worst thing that could ever happen to you in this life is that you would be with Jesus! Paul said that is ‘great gain’. So if the worst thing that could happen to you is ‘great gain’, then let peace dominate the rest. 
 
Call to remembrance ‘the former days’ and how He rescued you from this or that, and let that assurance arise in your mind out of your spirit, and settle it right then and there. Don’t argue with the peace!
 
Train yourself that there be no ‘But…Father, do you realize if we don’t have…’. He knows that or He wouldn’t have given His peace. There can be no ‘Oh no, if this isn’t paid then I don’t know what I’m going to do’ – stop, let peace fill your mind and stop all questions and settle all issues. The peace is evidence and testimony from heaven that He has it under control.
 
That doesn’t mean we aren’t to do what is right in the natural, for we are. God can say ‘You are healed’, but it doesn’t mean you don’t do what you can do in the natural to take medicine or receive therapy or whatever. He can give you peace the bill is paid, but it doesn’t mean you don’t talk to whomever you owe to work out arrangements.
 
What I am saying is that whenever there is a conflict of emotions or thoughts or impulses or urges, the peace of God has to step in and decide which will win, which is the right thing to think and feel.
 
Dutch conference April 21-24
This year we are adding a day, Thursday for workshops that will offer practical and repeatable ideas on how to start and maintain healthy family based churches that meet in homes. This will be especially good for those traveling from great distances, able to spend more time with each other - last year I think we had 14 or 15 nations represented – so the added day will be welcome.
 
The conference is open to anyone currently part of a CWOWI affiliated house church, or those interested in starting a house church and wanting to be related with others in the network. Besides the workshops, He always leads us in amazing Spirit-filled worship, a variety of teaching, and as we all eat all meals together, it is a great time to see old friends and make new ones.
 
Personal update
I didn’t realize how tired and ‘burned out’ I was from all the travels and hosting and such this year until I stopped traveling for the holidays. We also got hit with several thousands of dollars of bills last month a couple weeks before Thanksgiving that we are still digging out of. We were taken totally by surprise for they hit all at once from a variety of sources ranging from car related to remodeling material we thought we’d paid for already, to services from some workers we thought we’d already paid for x work, but they hadn’t figured that in, and taxes and, and, and…we are part way dug out, but still have a lot to go. 
 
I ask that you remember us in your giving and if you can give a little extra it would be a huge blessing. I am very low-key when it comes to finances, and like my Weekly Thoughts, I’m pretty transparent, and that’s just where we are. Behind in bills, but feeling His peace and presence and having to let that be the umpire. Sometimes we hear from people that they’d like to give but can’t for one reason or another, and we certainly understand. Often they are thinking they can’t give a tithe or large amount, not realizing even a small amount really helps.
 
We have several who faithfully donate $5 or $10 a month, and their faithfulness means so much because it is dependable, and they realize giving is a lifestyle and part of being a disciple of Jesus.
 
But we are well, Chris is doing well, with his 36th birthday on the 23rd. It is hard to believe that 36 years ago, 2 days before Christmas, something would happen that would change our lives. The doctor was home waiting for his son to arrive for Christmas, and though Chris went into fetal distress at 2pm, the doctor didn’t decide to get to the hospital until 7:25pm. Upon seeing the situation, though he had been briefed via phone all afternoon, he ordered an emergency C-section. But the hospital couldn’t find the (required) attending Pediatric Doctor for more than an hour. Finally, Chris was born at 8:50pm with the umbilical cord around his neck cutting off oxygen. Still, we are thankful. He is both a burden and blessing, and makes us laugh with his great sense of humor and ‘never met a stranger’ outlook. Mentally they say he is about 4, but in some areas he is nearly normal in what he understands.
 
For years Chris heard the word ‘Christmas’ and thought the holiday was all about Chris. Santa, sleigh, tree, family gathering – Christmas and Chris – all he heard was ‘Chris’. It took years before it sunk in we are celebrating Jesus’ birth AND Chris’ birth, lol. But he knows his big day is near when he starts seeing Christmas decorations in the stores, this year in October (sadly). So we are expecting a couple great days of celebration, and praying you have a Presence filled celebration of Jesus’ birth, and safe and happy New Year.
 
Thanks for being in our lives,
    John and Barb, and Chris!

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